In the car park I’m warned against going out. Couple of boys here and there with some scratches. Ppfft whatever.
Paddling out, the waves are mechanically perfect, the stuff of dreams. Never seen anything like it in my life. But then a set wave comes through. My heart rate spikes, real hard. “shit, I’m kinda nervous.” Feeling those waves of giddiness, that come hand in hand with raised stakes. I just need to get one so I can get over it, I say to myself. Noting how the paddle in speed is critical today.
The time comes when I’m on point, it’s my turn next. A good clean one comes through. I start the paddle and have to chat down the booger that tried to snake me. Take off is clean. One thing leads to another and I’m deep in the barrel. Although it runs away from me I’m stoked. This numbs my giddiness and fogs the visions that brought it about. Make my way back into line. Before I know it, its my turn again.
Stroke in, but something makes me check my inside, causing half a second of lost time and paddle in speed. Shit this one is hairy but I’m too deep in the game to even think about pulling out. The beast hits the reef and just lurches. No wonder I wasn’t contested for it. I’m in the air free falling. OK, I’ve been here before and have made plenty of these. Bam, the bottom, I guess I loose it.
Thank goodness I didn’t hit the reef I think to myself. Premature celebration as that was just me going over the falls. Next thing I know I’m getting slammed into the reef like a boot in the washing machine. It let’s off and shoves me nicely into a canal between the coral, where I do a fair rendition of Cool Running, with less lycra. Even with my pip bouncing off the bottom it manages to conjure the thought “not good!”
I get let up, deep inside. Cooked on adrenalin and pain, I comically cry “Oh no!” as I see my beloved – board – is no more. I manage to drag my sorry self through the next set to the relative safety of the channel where I receive many Dude-are-you-ok’s and one snarky, ‘Oh I forgot to tell you it’s really heavy.’
Worry not this story has a relatively happy ending. A nearby boat takes sympathy on me and the massive 400m paddle-in I’m facing, so calls me over. Where they proceed to feed me bintangs and I proceed to bleed all over their boat. While we watch mechanical perfection roll in. One after the next.
P. S. We watched the clips from that day. While mine was missed you can see me popping up as another leviathan heaves itself onto the reef. I’m not surprised that hurt so much.